Sunday, March 27, 2016

Slow Cooker: Mexican Vegetable and Quinoa Soup

I just have to brag about my latest kitchen item.  I shouldn't brag but I'm going to because it is my new favorite, my only favorite (for now) that I keep using over and over again.

MGG gave me a Breville Risotto Plus for Christmas last year and I been cooking in it non-stop for about 3 months.  I have been drooling over this baby for a couple of years now and I was so happy that he figured that out and purchased it for me.  It is a wonderful, smart, kitchen tool!  If you don't know about it you are in for a treat.

If makes risotto, fluffy steamed rice and family-sized slow-cooked meals—all in the same machine. It's a multitasker! It also sautes, and steams. I can't say enough good things about it, truly. This is definitely an item to consider if you are in the market for a multi-tasking slow cooker.  Here is the recipe for the Risotto with Mushrooms and Sage I made for date night.

The reason I mention this to you is that I used it in today's recipe. We are getting ready for a long (much needed) vacation and wouldn't you know I feel a tickle in my throat....geez! So I am refusing to be sick and I'm loading up on all kinds of preventatives while I'm trying to do the laundry and get us packed.

So tonight's dinner is a real soothing vegetable soup. Full of good for you ingredients that sound perfect for a scratchy throat. This really is a soup that you can use all your fresh vegetables up, throw in some pantry items and you have a hearty dinner. I made it with Mexican flavors to go along with my famous Taco Salad that I've also made. Soup and salad for dinner? Yes, please!

We have beans for protein, lots of vegetables, and oh yes, quinoa. Quinoa you say? Why yes, quinoa is great in soups. It lends more protein, and a nice texture to the soup. It would equate to adding rice to your soup.  If you would rather have rice add that instead but try the quinoa for a nice change. Since you are adding quinoa to the soup upfront I suggest that you cook this on high heat. Grains tend to absorb a lot of liquid and will cook better on high heat and not absorb as much. If you want to cook this on slow, I would cook the quinoa separately and add it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before eating to heat it up.

Enjoy some comforting soup soon. It may not cure a sore throat but it certainly soothes the soul!

Mexican Vegetable and Quinoa Soup


1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper

Additional toppings: avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream.

In a slow cooker on saute mode (or in a skillet if needed) add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Saute for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Turn off saute mode on slow cooker, or add vegetables to the slow cooker from the skillet.

Add beans, corn, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato paste, garlic and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Add the rinsed quinoa oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high heat 3-4 hours. Serve with additional toppings if desired.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread - Slice of Southern

I love coffee cake, the crumb kind.  I've loved ever since I was a kid.  I was always after my mom to make a coffee cake on the weekends for breakfast, but she reserved it for a treat.

I also love banana cake.  The flavor is wonderful, plus I always have over ripe bananas laying around. It seems to be a thing in my house.  So banana something is always calling me.

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread - Slice of Southern

Today I decided to combine my love of cinnamon streusel coffee cake and banana bread.  This wonderful decadent Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread is heaven!  Your whole house will be smelling wonderful while it's baking and your mouth will be watering just to get a taste of this delicious breakfast treat.

Who am I kidding?  breakfast, snack time, dessert....lunch! It's good anytime!

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread - Slice of Southern

So if you have  love for cinnamon and banana bread this is just for you!


Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

16 servings

For the Streusel:
1/2 cup Sugar
3 T brown sugar
2 T cinnamon

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c sugar 
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c lite sour cream
1/4 c 2 % milk
2 t canola oil
1 t vanilla
1 large ripe banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Make the streusel in a small bowl, adding sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.  

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, stir to combine. In another medium bowl add sour cream milk, canola oil, vanilla, and mashed banana.  Stir to combine.    

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture. Stir until combined. Pour 1/2 of the batter in the loaf pan.  Sprinkle on some of the streusel (you may not use it all).  Add the remaining batter over the streusel.  Take a knife and run it through the batter in a swirling motion. 

Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from the pan and continue to cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread - Slice of Southern

Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Patrick's Day dishes

I'm a wee bit of Irish I am...!

I love St. Patrick's Day.  Everyone is Irish that day and it's filled with fun, laughter, beer, everything green, and Irish food!

My Grandmother on my Dad's side was half Irish and half American Indian.  My Great Grandmother Addie McClary migrated with her family from Ireland to Oklahoma during the Cherokee Land Strip run.  Such great history there.  I wish that my Grandmother had more Irish recipes from her mom and aunts.  But I've still got a great collection of delicious treats for you to make.

I think I should explore that side of the family and their food a little more. Don't you?  I'll put it on my ever growing 'to do' list to make some wonderful Irish dishes. Yep, that's what I'm gonna do.

We won't be here to celebrate this year but I wanted to leave you with some inspiration for celebrating with your own Irish feast.

  • St. Patrick's Day Cheddar Biscuits - Oh my these biscuits are good.  Hot and bursting with flavor and cute shamrocks on top.  
  • Pioneer Spotted Dog - One of my favorite breads.  We like to have it for breakfast with hot tea.
  • Chocolate Bailey's Milkshake - A 'grown up' milkshake that will have you singing "Oh Danny boy"!
  • Potato Cakes - One these are one of my favorite items to make with left over mashed potatoes.  I just love the flavor of these and could eat the whole batch myself!
  • Irish Stew - This will be warming your soul.  Serve it with the Cheddar Biscuits above or the Pioneer Spotted Dog and you will have a meal to remember.

Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pecan Pancakes with a Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Today's recipe is an ode to my Mom with a little nod to one of me.

Mom just loved waffles with pecans.  To tell you the truth I think she just love pecans in anything! They are my favorite nut by far and we use them in baking all the time.  Even though my mom's been gone a few years now I still celebrate the food that she loved by making dishes in her honor.

So today, in honor of my Mom's pecan love, I decided to make pecan pancakes. A nice variation on her pecan waffles.  But these aren't just any old pancakes.  I had to put a little spin on it with an ingredient that I love too....chocolate. YUM!  I love chocolate, especially when it is warm.  Oh for the gooey love of warm chocolate. They go perfect with the pecans!

They are easy to put together using my great Aunt Grace's Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes with a few added touches. Create a fudge sauce to go on top and you are all ready for a wonderful breakfast.

What's better than hot, golden pancakes?  Not much!


Pecan Pancakes with a Chocolate Fudge Sauce

makes: 2-3 servings

1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 chopped pecans

Fudge Sauce:
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup jarred fudge sauce

Make the Sauce: To a medium saucepan add the syrup and fudge sauce. Whisk together to combine. Heat over a low heat until warm. Keep warm.

For the Pancakes:
In a medium bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the oil.

In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg.

Add to dry ingredients and mix together until just moistened. Fold in the chopped pecans. Batter will be lumpy.

In a pre-heated skillet, (add cooking spray if necessary) ladle batter onto skillet for each pancake. Cook until golden brown and holes begin to appear on top. Turn on the second side and cook until golden brown.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Simple Southern Biscuits

I'm a pretty good planner for our weekly meals (or at least I thought I was...) and usually do my shopping once a week for fresh foods like milk, bread, fruits and vegetables.

Well this week I either miscalculated or we over ate because I woke up on Saturday morning and we didn't have any bread, only a small amount of milk, no fruit or even cereal! Not very many ingredients to enjoy breakfast, and I do love my weekend breakfasts.

But luckily Saturday was a busy day and we just skipped breakfast (cause we had to...) and went about our business. I intended to stop by the store but things didn't work out and I ran out of time. Having a stocked pantry and a freezer helped me with lunch and dinner, so no worries there.   

Then comes Sunday morning...still no bread, fruit, or cereal, and a small amount of milk.  I decided to take matters in my own hands and make my mom's homemade biscuits. Biscuits were a staple growing up and they are the perfect substitute for a loaf of bread.  Great for breakfast, or put some ham on it and you have a wonderful sandwich, and you can serve with dinner as a roll.  What's better?

Mom's Simple Southern Biscuit recipe is soooo easy.  You only need 3 ingredients and they make light and fluffy biscuits that are to die for!  Can't you just imagine sinking your teeth into a hot, fluffy biscuit with butter or jam on it?  My mouth is watering now....

So the bread dilemma is solved, and I feel lazy.  Wonder if I can go another day or two without going to the store!  (that will be a test!)


Simple Southern Biscuits

Source: Imogene Center's recipe box

Makes: 15 Biscuits

½ cup cold butter, cubed (1 stick)
2 cups self-rising flour
¾ cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse peas sized crumbles. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3-4 times. Pat or lightly roll to ¾-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2 ½-in. biscuit cutter.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake about 10-11 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Three Citrus Muffins

Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man....

I can't believe that I recall hearing this song over and over as a child.  It's so appropriate as someone just called me the "muffin man" today!  Oh, I would say that it is probably true.  I do love a good muffin and it's something that I have been baking ever since I was in junior high school.

I've made all kinds of muffins through the years and have posted some of my favorites here on my blog.  Here are a few you may have missed.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – Healthier Version

Raspberry Sour Cream Muffins

Marshmallow Muffins

Today I'm channeling an early spring and wanted to bring you a bright, sunshiny muffin that uses the abundance of citrus available right now.  This tender yet moist muffin is laced with hints of orange, lemon and lime.  They came out so light to the taste that they instantly made me happy! These are certainly a new favorite, which will go into our weekend treat rotation.  

Enjoy your Three Citrus Muffins!

Three Citrus Muffins

makes: 6 

1 egg
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 Cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lime zest
1 tsp orange zest

Place egg, milk, orange juice and oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until light. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the three citrus zests. Stir just until moistened. Don’t overmix…batter should be lumpy and a little thick.

Spray a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide batter among 6 muffin cups filling most of the way full.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 min. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Serve.


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